West Indies grip innings as young spinners fight back

gay-brat-300West Indies only had a couple of moments of concern during the first two hours of play at Arnos Vale, while moving to 103 for no loss at lunch. Chris Gayle, who was involved in both chances, moved to 61 and looks menacing for Bangladesh.

In the 18th over, Al-Amin Hossain misfielded at mid-off, but Gayle was too slow to come back for the second. His reach saved him in the end as replays showed he had inched across the line when Rubel Hossain removed the bails. A handful of overs later, Gayle offered Rubel a return catch but the seamer was hit by the ball before he could cup his hands together. Gayle had just reached his fifty.

The visitors picked three specialist bowlers, but that didn’t stop Mushfiqur Rahim from choosing to bowl. His reasoning was that early morning moisture might assist the quicks, but on the field he resorted to offspinner Mahmudullah in the sixth over, after Rubel Hossain gave 13 runs in two overs.

There was barely any threat, either from the bowling or from the pitch. Gayle and Kraigg Brathwaite sussed the situation quickly. They did not need to take extravagant chances. Apart from some control from Al-Amin and the odd delivery that moved back at Gayle, Bangladesh didn’t have much to offer.

Gayle found boundaries through the offside almost at will, and he chose his shots well. He played mostly in front of the wicket, with his usual minimal footwork and reached his 37th Test fifty with a six over midwicket off the debutant left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.

Brathwaite was steadfast and let Gayle do most of the scoring. He struck his first three boundaries on the off side, a straight drill off Mahmudullah the most attractive of them. He took the opening partnership past hundred, their first since July 2012, when he drove Taijul through extra-cover.

Taijul and the other debutant Shuvagata Hom were both given early look-ins, but were not too effective. Taijul flighted the ball and was encouraged by a bit of turn but Shuvagota found it hard to find a consistent area. Al-Amin bowled a good first spell, and gave away his first runs after five successive maidens. Rubel bowled better in his second spell but Bangladesh’s main concern, apparent from the first morning of the Test series, has to be the lack of threat from any of the bowlers.